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Saturday, 16 February 2008

Alsheim to Oppenheim, 11 miles linear walk, 14 Feb 2008

After celebrating New Year with Karl Breth and his wife Hannelore, this visit was sadly to attend her funeral and stay on for a week afterwards.

This walk was lead by Karl on a zigzag route from the Rhine valley up and over farm tracks

across rolling farmland and then back towards the Rhine at Oppenheim.

At this time of year hares are easily seen. In 4 hours we saw a dozen or so, boxing, mating and running. Rodents are common too, which explains the abundance of buzzards, kestrels and merlin. There were flocks of what I think may have been fieldfares. Roe deer are plentiful and are considered a pest as they eat the grape vines.

The sunshine masks the fact that this was a bitterly cold day with a biting wind.

If you want to see hares and raptors though, come here at this time of year.

The stone building behind Karl, built in 1906, is the ornate entrace to a water reservoir.
On the vines are triangular shaped pheromone traps to monitor for problem moths and smaller plastic devices containing chemicals to confuse the male moths in their mating habits

This is a typical scrape made by a hare as a resting site.

Roe deer

Rape is grown as a green manure, which is chopped and ploughed in to capture nitrogen and reduce its leaching.

Back on the ridge of the Rhine valley, we then descended into the rich town of Oppenheim, with its magnificent church.

Click on any picture to expand, especially the above panorama of the vineyards as we approached Oppenheim. This pic' produced with Autostitch software.

Kroete Brunnen, (toad well), is a famous wine producing area of Oppenheim.

We caught the train back to Alsheim after this bracing and fascinating walk.

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